Wednesday 23 October 2019

Gone fishin' for skin therapy

Kathryn Hayes

"Sleeping with the fishes" is a term usually issued as a sinister threat -- but a new clinic aims to show their therapeutic side.

An alternative skin therapy clinic where patients with chronic diseases bathe with hundreds of tiny fish that nibble at the skin, will soon be made available in Dublin.

"Doctor fish" -- so named for their ability to produce healthy results from even the most diseased epidermis -- are the key ingredient in a skin treatment currently available at Skin Therapy Ireland, a clinic located on the outskirts of Limerick city.

The fish, pictured left, are a species called Garra Rufa that originate in hot spring pools in the East Anatolian Kangal region of Turkey, where these fish have "nibbled" on the skin of psoriasis-sufferers for more than four hundred years.

Clare woman Therese Dillon, who suffered from severe psoriasis for years, decided to open Ireland's first clinic of this type in Limerick after a holiday to Turkey where she first tried the therapy.

"About 60pc of my body was covered with psoriasis and I had never experienced results like those I got in Turkey so I brought some fish back with me and began breeding them here before opening the clinic in Limerick a year ago," explained the 42-year-old.

"I am not a qualified physician and I don't claim to cure anybody but I currently have a 75pc success rate on my books," she added.

Patients suffering from a variety of skin diseases including eczema, dermatitis, athlete's foot, acne and psoriasis are currently travelling from across the country to the clinic and plans are under way to open a clinic in Dublin in two months.

The treatment involves bathing in a hot tub with approximately 200 fish for two-hour periods over six days.

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